I had an entirely different musical selection all queued up and scheduled for today (which never happens, because I don't plan ahead). But I'd forgotten that it's my St. Patrick's Breastplate-Lorica-Deer's Cry day, so I had to scrub the whole thing and start over. That'll teach me to plan ahead ever again...
There aren't that many settings of the text, and I've posted most of them in the past. So I wasn't quite sure where to go with this one, until I stumbled across Saturday Choral's latest post and was reminded of Arvo Pärt's setting of the final verse. (Interestingly, this is the only setting of an English text I can remember hearing from Pärt.)
A Lorica, (the name comes from the Latin word for shield) was a prayer to be recited before battle that had been inscribed on a knight's shield. In the case of St Patrick's Lorica the story goes that St Patrick and his followers were being hunted through a forest by pagans intent on putting them to death. Patrick appealed to God for aid by reciting the Lorica and God responded by disguising Patrick and his fellows as a doe and twenty fauns – which account's for its other name "The deer's cry."
Pärt's four-part setting is almost like an incantation that builds slowly and gently rising to a descending sequence at "Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me" that heralds the Lorica's final line.